trio-sax-piano-duo-2Aside from the beauty of the music and the high quality of the performance of works by Max Bruch, Leo Délibes, Jun Nagao, and Guillaume Connesson, played in this CD by the Jamnaji Trio, it is unusual to listen to such good chamber music made by the rare combination of two saxophones and a piano.

But then there is no rule that says that saxophonists James Bunte and Nathan Nabb could not team up with their pianist, Hyun Ji Oh and make music together. And, if there is not much music (if any) conceived or available for that rare combination, there is always a composer or arranger out there to take a commission from the artists and create suitable works to be played.

Paganini Lost, a 2008 mano-a-mano for two alto saxophones by Japanese composer Jun Nagao is a flashy and clever composition that riffs on the Italian violinist’s 24th Caprice, providing a sit-up-and-listen opening to the album in a terrific performance by the trio.

Max Bruch wrote his Eight Pieces for Viola and Clarinet in 1909. A work that turned its back on the then new-fangled free-Atonality that Schoenberg was beginning to explore, Bruch’s eight pieces are lovely, lyrical and elegant to begin with, and remain so in the idiomatically apt arrangement by Japanese composer Masahito Sugihara. Nabb’s alto saxophone and Bunte’s tenor saxophone blend to provide a finely tuned performance

Nathan Nabb and James Bunte next elicit a singing tone from two soprano saxophones in the familiar “Flower Duet” from Leo Délibes’ Lakmé in an arrangement by Nicholas Bissen, playing with seamless legato.

The album gets a tongue-in-cheek, warp-speed finish with both Bunte and Nabb on soprano saxophones in Guillaume Connesson’s Techno-Parade.

Kim Pensyl produced and engineered this album, available through CD Baby.

Three fine artists, four composers, all under one name in an unusual and welcome CD.

Rafael de Acha